I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s the “Expendables” franchise or maybe just my constant desire for nostalgia, but I’ve always been a Bruce Willis fan. From “The Sixth Sense” to comedies like “The Whole Nine Yards,” I get excited whenever another one of his movies hits the big screen. So when I saw the trailer for the latest “Die Hard” film, I didn’t need to hear anything else. I’d be there.
“A Good Day to Die Hard” picks up after the events of “Live Free or Die Hard.” John McClane hasn’t heard from his son in years, and the last contact they had was less than fatherly. When he gets word that his son is in Russia and might need some help, John ventures out. But instead of the warm greeting and a hug, elder McClane finds his son in the kind of mess he’s seen before. But John “Jack” McClane Jr. (Jai Courtney) doesn’t want help. Ah, just like his father.
We follow father and son on one of the least expected bonding experiences ever. Dramatic car chases, international crime, uranium (Why is plutonium or uranium always involved?), and two guys just trying to get the mission done and get out of Russia in one piece.
The film is bombastic and action-packed, even if the script is a bit lacking. The story moves briskly and leaves little unturned. The dynamic between and father and son may be clichéd at best, but the continual endearing nature of John McClane makes the film stick. Where recent action stars have failed, “A Good Day to Die Hard” seems to succeed. It isn’t going to win any awards, but it comes at a time when the big screen is missing a shamelessly machismo picture. Schwarzenegger, Statham, and Stallone have tried to do so lately, but it all feels done before.
My friend told me a theory that I feel explains my fascination with Bruce Willis films. Whenever he is trying to save someone or something, the film is usually better. Sure, “The Kid” was a decent movie, but in “Die Hard” films he saves buildings, planes, and even countries. How is that unlikable?
The one complaint I do have is the sound mixing during the action scenes. McClane is one sarcastic character, but his best lines are lost because explosions and other sounds drown them out. I’m sure repeat viewings, which will happen when I buy the film on Blu-ray, will iron it out.
All in all, however, the film is a wild ride. A bit long at times and a bit short in others. But John McClane is on the big screen; nothing else needs to be said. 3 out of 5 stars.
Check your local listings for showtimes and theaters (click here)